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Love in the Time of Cholera

Gabriel García Márquez

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics

full title ·  Love in the Time of Cholera

author · Gabriel GarcíEscolasticaa Márquez

type of work · Novel

genre · Fiction, Romance

language · Spanish

early 1980's, bogota, colombia and mexico city, mexico · 

date of first publication · 1985

publisher · Penguin Books

narrator · Omniscient

point of view · The narrator is continuously omniscient throughout the entirety of the novel and provides an objective view of each character through sequence of events, dialogue, and description.

tone · The narration is written much like poetry; the language is dense and somewhat formal, though it is beautified by lyricism and rich description. Despite its very formal use of language, the poetic tone is often injected with humor.

tense · Frequently shifts in tense from present to past; the book begins in the present, and makes references to a yet unknown past, which is explained later on in the book. In explaining the history of the first scenes, the author builds up to the final, current scene.

setting (time) · Turn of the century

setting (place) · Fabricated, tropical Caribbean port ("District of the Viceroys"), turn of the century

protagonist · Florentino Ariza and/or Fermina Daza

major conflict · Florentino Ariza suffers for more than fifty years without Fermina Daza, his first love, and tries to win her back after the death of her husband, Dr. Juvenal Urbino.

rising action · Dr. Juvenal Urbino falls to his death on Pentecost Sunday, after trying to retrieve his pet parrot from the mango tree in the yard.

climax · After more than half a century, Florentino Ariza reiterates his love for Fermina Daza on the night of her husband's funeral.

falling action · Florentino and Fermina, both of whom are now elderly, fall back in love on a riverboat cruise.

themes · Love as an Emotional and Physical Plague; The Fear and Intolerance of Aging and Death; Suffering in the Name of Love

motifs · Birds; Flowers; Water

symbols · The Yellow Flag of Cholera; The "Tiger;" A Camellia Flower

foreshadowing · Jeremiah Saint-Amour's suicide, and the discovery of his secret lover foreshadows the narrative explanation of the love affair between Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza. Fermina's refusal of Florentino's camellias, "flowers of promise," and the bird droppings that fall on her embroidery work when he asks for her permission to court her, foreshadow the anguish their tortured affair will entail.

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Error

by Trevor4274, August 17, 2012

Notes on Chapter Two contain an error. Florentino Ariza is not the man with whom the girls held lotteries to hang out with, until he saw Fermina Daza; that was Dr. Juvenal Urbino. See the first paragraph in Chapter 3 to see where this sentence refers to the latter.

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Lotteries for men

by gogogidge, May 07, 2013

Actually, women held lotteries to hang out with both men. When Florentino is introduced in chapter 2 Marquez mentions this on page 54. Then again, on page 105 (the first page of chapter 3), the lotteries for Dr. Urbino are mentioned.

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